Today was not a good day for me as I discovered a term my site was ranking very high in search for had dropped from position 4 to 28 in Google search results. I thought I got de-indexed for some unknown reason so I tried a search for my own companies name “NexToronto”. The results sent me into panic mode as my listing was displayed in some foreign language.
The hacker had left a backlink to a game website called “clash of the clans” on my homepage and had manipulated the website to display different title tags and meta descriptions on certain pages in some Asian language.
Strangely when I investigated my YOAST SEO settings for both the title tags and meta descriptions on my site everything was fine as they displayed the correct entries I had originally set them to.
I figured the it was related to the site language setting wasn’t. I decided to purchase and install a popular WordPress security plugin called WordFence to scan my website for potential malware and compromised files. The cost of the plugin for 1 website was $99 US.
The WordFence Security plugin has been downloaded over 2 million times and is currently the most popular security plugin for WordPress.
Installing the plugin took only a few seconds and within minutes I had successfully scanned the entire website.
The results were impressive with at least 8 or so identified new files and roughly 10 files that were subject to code injections.
WordFence not only scans your website for any malicious code or files but also provides the option to either delete or restore any WordPress core files it believes has been hacked.
After completing the WordFence malware scan and cleanup I requested Google to re-index my site through Google console.
Within a few minutes the issue was resolved as my title tags and meta descriptions were once again displaying correctly and in English. My search ranking had also been restored back to page 1 on Google for my target search term and best of all my search listing went from from position 4 to POSITION 2!!!
So if you’re having a similar problem I highly suggest taking the following steps:
1. Install and activate the WordFence Security plugin
2. Scan & clean up any hacked or infected files (delete malicious files and/or restore core files)
3. Request Google to re-index your website through Google Console
Furthermore to fixing my issue, WordFence has currently blocked two hacking attempts on my website.